Call me simple-minded if you will, but I think this is a brilliant video:
I have listened with some frustration and some puzzlement to fellow conservatives of my acquaintance who evidently don't think things are this bad, or don't think it was a good idea for the Republicans to try not to raise the debt ceiling, or don't think that America's continually going deeper and deeper into debt is a big deal.
It seems to me that the only way that you can think that things are not this bad and that it is not insanity to keep not only borrowing more but even increasing the amount we borrow each year as a country is because you think there is something so different about "being a country in debt" from being an individual in debt. Of course there are plenty of differences, but as far as I'm concerned, these differences only make matters worse. As, for example, that the actual individual people making this decision don't actually have to have their individual lives ruined by it. Or consider that the debt is denominated in currency which is controlled by the entity (the U.S. government) that owes the debt. This means that in theory the government could utterly trash the currency and monetize huge chunks of the debt to "get itself out of debt." Oh, joy. That actually should mean a duty for more fiscal restraint, not less. It should cause us to resist the temptation to think that our government can just borrow money, use the money to pay for real things--real goods and services--and then print (or e-print) "money" out of nowhere to pay back the debt for the money borrowed to purchase or manufacture those real things. And that we can do this indefinitely. If that isn't pretending that something comes from nothing, I don't know what is.
One "argument" I heard was that Congress had to vote to raise the debt ceiling because Congress already passed an appropriations bill previously that assumed the availability of an amount of money that required that we borrow more money than the then-current debt ceiling would allow. That's a terrible argument. If Congress passed such an appropriations bill, the obvious thing to do is go back and fix it, to pass a different appropriations bill instead that doesn't assume that we're going to go even deeper into new debt than last year. This seems obvious, but evidently not to everybody. Are we really just resigned entirely to the idea that our government should be permitted to borrow money on our behalf without upper limit for whatever the heck they want to spend it on? That not only must our country take on new debt with every year that passes, not only must it never pay down the crushing weight of debt it already has, but that it must increase the degree to which it takes on new debt with every year that passes? Otherwise WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!! Speaking for myself, I'm not resigned to any such thing.
The final argument was just that making even the smallest baby steps towards minimal fiscal responsibility is politically impossible, that the Republicans would just lose and be blamed, and that this would have large, negative political consequences which conservatives should want to avoid. But that assumes that fiscal responsibility has no importance in itself whatsoever and hence isn't worth taking any kind of a stand for. In fact, it assumes that conservative politicians should be active enablers of wild fiscal irresponsibility just to avoid getting (admittedly unfairly) voted out of office, since their presence in office is for the greater public good. That amounts to a pretty disturbing implication that the fiscal insanity, not to mention the cruelty to later generations, highlighted in the above video is not very important after all.
So I'm with Cruz on this one, and America will have cause to rue the day that he lost his fight.
If this be simple-mindedness, make the most of it.
Update: Further research, motivated by correspondence with my blog colleague at W4, Paul Cella, has made clear to me that what Congress gave in and agreed to raise was not, as I had thought, the deficit limit for a particular year (i.e., to allow a bigger deficit and more borrowing this year than last) but rather the debt limit--that is, a limit on the total amount of U.S. debt. Such a vote would arise in any year in which there was any deficit. Partly because the deficit in immediately previous fiscal years has been astronomical, it turns out that the deficit in fiscal 2013 is actually somewhat less than in immediately previous years, contrary to implications in the above post. I'm glad to correct the error. However, the video does not seem to suffer from the confusion that I was under. Raising your line of credit simply is being allowed to go deeper into debt than you already are without paying down any of the debt you currently have. Naturally, my position is still that Congress should have gone back and balanced the budget instead, at which point pirouetting pigs would have appeared to perform an aerial ballet over Washington, D.C.